Knowing how your teeth change as you get older and understanding what you can do to keep them as strong and healthy as possible will help you maintain your beautiful smile as you get older. Remember, if you start taking steps today to keep your mouth healthy, you can reduce the odds of needing to replace your natural teeth with dentures or implants in the future.
How Teeth Change as You Get OlderHere’s a list of some of the ways that you can expect your chompers to change with each passing year:
• Wear-and-tear takes its toll on your enamel: Years and years of biting and chewing might eventually wear down your enamel, which is the outer layer of the teeth. Even certain foods, such as those that are acidic, could do damage. Also, certain parts of the teeth may become flatter over time. Plus, bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching) and a poor bite might also wreak havoc on the surfaces of your teeth. Bad habits like chewing on hard foods or ice, could make your teeth more susceptible to damage, too.
• Increased sensitivity: As you get older, and your enamel is worn away more and more, or your gums begin to recede, you might start to experience sensitivity, particularly when you eat or drink something cold or hot. If your teeth are sensitive, be sure to see your dentist to rule out problems like gum disease or tooth decay.
• Less sensitivity because of changes in the nerves: Your teeth have nerves inside them, and they might get smaller as you get older. This could make you less sensitive to problems like cavities, so you might end up going a long time with decay eating away at your pearly whites if you don’t see your dentist regularly for checkups. Reduced sensitivity also means that you might not notice if there’s a small break in a tooth that ends up exposing the inner pulp. Your dentist can catch problems in their earliest stages at regular exams and cleanings, so be sure to keep those dental appointments even if you don’t have any symptoms!
• Your teeth won’t be as white: As you get older, your teeth may not look as white and bright as they used to. The dentin might become more obvious through the enamel, which can also become stained by what you eat and drink.
The Risk of Problems Increases with AgeAs you get older, your risk for a variety of oral health problems, from cavities to cancer, increases, and the gums start to recede as well.
Unfortunately, once you’re over 65 years of age, the odds of tooth decay developing and the odds of needing a root canal for severe damage are much higher than when you’re younger.
Additionally, if you have old fillings from many years ago, you’ll need to see your dentist to ensure they aren’t breaking down and decay isn’t occurring along their edges. Your dentist can fix these problems if they arise.
Keep Your Gums Strong to Support the Health of Your TeethDid you know that gum disease is the main cause of tooth loss in seniors? So, if you want to keep your teeth healthy as you age, it’s important to take great care of your gums, which provide the foundation for your pearly whites.
Brushing, flossing, and professional dental cleanings can help you prevent the buildup of plaque in between teeth and along the gum line. Remember: even if you’re brushing and flossing regularly at home, you might not be getting your teeth as clean as they should be, so professional cleanings in the dentist’s chair can help prevent a minor case of gum disease from becoming worse as you get older.
See your dentist regularly for checkups and let them know if your gums bleed, or if they feel swollen or sore at all. A dental professional will be able to carefully evaluate the health of your gums, looking for areas that might be receding and putting your teeth at risk. Luckily, there are a variety of treatments available to resolve gum disease before it can do serious damage to your teeth.
Have the Right Dental Insurance to Help Cover the Costs of Care!Cleaning your teeth and gums at home, and seeing your dentist for checkups, are important steps during every stage of life, but they become even more important when you’re older. Shopping for the right dental insurance can help put your mind at ease when it comes to affording the professional care you need to keep your smile looking fabulous, no matter your age.
If you’re ready to sign up for a dental plan, check out the Direct Benefits Marketplace to easily compare options that are available in your area.